Last year, we did some research on our carbon footprint and found the C02 we produced to be surprisingly small. Good news, right? Well, for a time we thought so too and continued doing what we were doing, thinking out footprint was somewhat in the green.
In recent months, there has been a niggling feeling that somehow the results weren't all that honest. Perhaps, there was a need to take more responsibility for the life of the product we are selling. Coffee is pretty much the core of the business (unsurprisingly) and it turns out it has a rather high carbon footprint, taking into consideration each stage from growing to brewing.
If you took an environmental view on the matter, you might say that we should all stop drinking coffee, it's not a necessity and the global emissions are huge. It's a legitimate viewpoint I've contemplated for some time. However, to do this would be to entirely ignore the social and fiscal benefits of the trade, not to mention how many lives depend on it. It's hard to believe but approximately 10% of the worlds population work in the coffee industry, so I believe the best thing we can do is aim be a better company, in a broadly sustainable sense.
Our industry is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The fruits and plants we love so much are highly affected by changing weather conditions and not by any means disease resistant. High-quality production is becoming more difficult, which means the livelihoods of those on the production side of the industry are at risk. Whatsmore, the greenhouse gases causing climate change are mostly produced on our side of the supply chain, meaning what's generated by us is being felt by others.
According to academic studies on coffees carbon footprint,
each kilo of coffee produces approximately 11 kilos of C02e by the time it's brewed. The shocking statistic is that only 25% of the C02e is produced during the growing stage, with the rest happening during transit, roasting, and brewing: predominantly at the consumer end. Indeed, as much as 55% C02e is produced in the Café.
Taking all of this into consideration, we have decided to include some extra figures in our carbon calculation this year. This includes all C02 emissions from coffee up until the point that it leaves our doors, packaged and ready for brewing. Growing, shipping and roasting are all included. Our calculations give us a figure of 5 grams of C02e per gram of coffee. Last year we sold 19.5 tonnes of coffee, therefore producing 97.5 tonnes of C02e before it left our roastery. This also incentivizes us further to buy coffee from farms who are using sustainable growing techniques. This year is the first year we've discovered a farm claiming to be carbon neutral, plus the bulk of our coffee is grown in farms promoting bio-diversity and permaculture. The less C02 a farm produces, the less we have to offset.
Whilst we're still a tiny company, we want to continually improve what we do and take responsibility for the industry we work in. Our calculations are not audited by anyone else so we can only say this is the first step in the right direction. The next step is finding the right project to support with our offset, and then we'd like to produce a transparent sustainability report. Measuring everything we can to help us know what's most important to reduce and change.
By taking responsibility for the lifecycle of the products we sell, working collaboratively with likeminded farmers, we hope to be a force for good. Helping to sustain people and places like these.